Purge - Arcola Theatre
Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle
BOREALIS Theatre, in association with Oblique House, is presenting the UK premiere of Purge, by Sofi Oksanen, at the Arcola Theatre, where it runs from February 24 (previews from February 22) to March 24, 2012.
Recognised as a potential Nobel prize-winner by the Swedish press, Sofi Oksanen reveals the fallout from the Soviet occupation of Estonia and the country’s independence in 1991 with this thrilling story of suspicion, secrets, betrayal and atonement.
A startling play and a best-selling novel, Purge is the story of two women, Zara and Aliide, each from different generations, each troubled by a shameful past, and the dark unspoken history that binds them.
Narrated through multiple story lines, Purge moves back and forth across time – to witness Aliide’s past, a period of night-time interrogations, when thousands of families were shipped to Siberia and partisans hid in the forests – to the present, where Zara is trapped in a world ruled by corruption, sexual exploitation and organised crime.
As the two women get to know each other a tragic and complex family drama of rivalry, lust, and loss starts to unfold – a story that reveals the worst years of Soviet oppression and the danger of political instability.
By interweaving their lives and destinies, Oksanen creates a powerful drama and an unflinching exploration of the loss of freedom and the bitter price of survival.
Originally written and performed at the National Theatre of Finland, Oksanen adapted Purge from a play into a novel, which became an international best-seller. Translated into over 38 languages, it was published in English in 2010 and was The Sunday Times Book of the Year.
The UK premiere has been translated into English by Eva Buchwald, is directed by Elgiva Field, designed by Rosemary Flegg (with Associate Designer James Field), and has lighting by Josh Pharo. The cast has yet to be confirmed.
Press night on February 24 will coincide with Estonian Independence Day, which was celebrated on this day until the Soviet occupation in 1940. Following the restoration of the country’s independence, the 24th became a public holiday.
Tickets: £16, £12 concessions. Pay-what-you-can Tuesdays from 6.30pm (subject to availability). Tickets are available from the box office on 020 75031646 or online at www.arcolatheatre.com
Times: 8pm (except Press Night, Friday, February 24 at 7pm), Saturday matinees (March 3, 10, 17 and 24) at 3pm.
Running Time: Approximately 90 minutes with a 15 minute interval.